Grand Canyon Sky Walk
In Grand Canyon West, Arizona, nearly a mile above the Colorado River, lays a magnificent structure that exists to take the breath away of the people who come to experience it. The Grand Canyon Sky Walk is a massive glass bridge suspended 4,000 feet on the very edge of the Grand Canyon. According to David Jin, founder of the Grand Canyon Sky Walk, the image started out as a dream. He wanted people to experience the Grand Canyon from the eyes of an eagle. Building a bridge was a chance to fully take in the canyon and to finally find a balance between form, function, and nature. What was once a dream has now turned into a reality.
The construction for the Sky Walk began in March of 2004 and in May of 2005 the final test was conducted, passing the engineering requirements by 400 percent. The Sky Walk became a reality on March 20, 2007, and the general public was able to see it and experience it on March 28, 2007.
The walkway has a horseshoe design and jets out 70 feet beyond the canyon’s edge. It consists of 1 million pounds of steel and supports 90 tons of tempered glass, which is 2 inches thick. Although the glass appears to be tinted, it is only a cushioning that acts as a safeguard for the glass. It is used as a “safe zone” for those nervous visitors. The Sky Walk is completely capable of holding 70 tons of weight, but the capacity that is permitted is limited to 200 visitors. As a visitor, you are also given protective shoe covers to prevent you from possible slipping and scratching of the glass floor.
The Grand Canyon Sky Walk is owned by the Hualapai Tribe and the members are split on what the Sky Walk brings to the reservation. Some members believe the structure disturbs sacred ground while others feel it is a great opportunity to generate cash to help relieve problems the reservation is facing. Within a 2,000 member community, the reservation faces a 50% unemployment rate, alcoholism, and poverty. Further development includes a building called, Grand Canyon West, which will consist of restaurants and shops. The expected completion of the Grand Canyon West is set for late 2009.
Since the grand opening of the Grand Canyon Sky Walk, it has been visited by thousands of people. It is without a doubt a new way to experience the Grand Canyon and should top one of your most unforgettable life moments.